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Inactivation of Avirulent Yersinia pestis in Butterfield's Phosphate Buffer and Frankfurters by UVC (254 nm) and Gamma Radiation

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Yersinia pestis is the causative agent of plague. Although rare, pharyngeal plague in humans has been associated with consumption or handling of meat prepared from infected animals. The risks of contracting plague from consumption of deliberately contaminated food are currently unknown. Gamma radiation is a penetrating form of electromagnetic radiation, and UVC radiation is used for decontamination of liquids or food surfaces. Gamma radiation D 10-values (the radiation dose needed to inactivate 1 log unit pathogen) were 0.23 (±0.01) and 0.31 (±0.03) kGy for avirulent Y. pestis inoculated into Butterfield's phosphate buffer and onto frankfurter surfaces, respectively, at 0°C. A UVC radiation dose of 0.25 J/cm2 inactivated avirulent Y. pestis suspended in Butterfield's phosphate buffer. UVC radiation doses of 0.5 to 4.0 J/cm2 inactivated 0.97 to 1.20 log units of the Y. pestis surface inoculated onto frankfurters. A low gamma radiation dose of 1.6 kGy could provide a 5-log reduction and a UVC radiation dose of 1 to 4 J/cm2 would provide a 1-log reduction of Y. pestis surface inoculated onto frankfurters. Y. pestis was capable of growth on frankfurters during refrigerated storage (10°C). Gamma radiation of frankfurters inhibited the growth of Y. pestis during refrigerated storage, and UVC radiation delayed the growth of Y. pestis.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Eastern Regional Research Center, 600 East Mermaid Lane, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania 19038, USA

Publication date: April 1, 2009

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